The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has been accused of involving in fraudulent act and corruption in the award of $44.861million (N16.150 billion) Warri Channel dredging contract to Dredging International Services Nigeria (DISN) Limited, a subsidiary of Dredging International Services (Cyprus) Limited. The NPA, Dredging International Services Nigeria and Dredging Atlantic Limited (DAL) are currently embroiled in a battle royal over the Warri Channel dredging contract. Legal counsel to Dredging Atlantic Limited, Mr Liborous Oshoma, who made the allegation in a chat with newsmen in Lagos, accused NPA of falsifying figures to make DISN bid at par with the bid of his client to enable it award the contract to the convicted company.
According to him, “Dredging International is a Cyprus-based subsidiary of the Belgian petroleum infrastructure and dredging group DEME. DISCL was sentenced last year May in Switzerland and asked to pay a fine of Sfr one million ($ 1.03 million) and repay Sfr 36 million ($ 37.3 million) of illegal profit.
“Officials of DISCL, DISN, Bert Wille and Steven Poppe and those of the NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, Mohammed Belo-Koko and Idris Abubakar, are directors of Bonny Channel Company Limited (BCCL), a special purpose vehicle established by the NPA and DISN for the execution of Bonny Channel dredging.”
He said Dredging Atlantic Limited emerged first in the technical bid by scoring 89 points as against 75 points scored by Dredging International Limited.
He added that his client also won the commercial bid with a bid of $44.880 million as against $44.998 million bided by Dredging International Limited.
Also, documents obtained by LEADERSHIP revealed that the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) admitted a procedural lapse on the part of NPA in arithmetic correction in the figures of Dredging Atlantic Limited.
In response to a request for an administrative review of the decisions of the procurement department of the NPA in respect of the contract, the BPP in a letter to the managing director of Dredging Atlantic Limited admitted that the NPA carried out arithmetic corrections on the financial tenders of both Messrs Dredging International Services Nigeria and Dredging Atlantic Limited as part of the evaluation process to ensure that tender prices were correct and that bidders were properly ranked.
However, in a statement further made available to LEADERSHIP, the legal adviser to DAL, Liborous Oshoma, denounced BPP’s claims stressing that the Bureau’s analysis only captured Items Nos 3.0,1 & 3.0.2 in DAW Bid total value in naira without splitting same in naira and US dollars, thus increasing the naira component of DAW’s Bid whilst decreasing the US dollars component of the same bid thereby arriving at a wrong conclusion.
Oshoma added that the question the BPP failed to answer is, “How come the lowest bidder as publicly announced Dredging Atlantic Ltd/Westminster Dredging (DAW) had “errors” and or additional figures (increase) of N11,709,932.84 ($38,393.23) to arrive at $44,918,741.22 as against the publicly announced figure of $44,880,348.21, while the highest bidder Dredging International Services Limited (DIS) had “errors” and or subtracted figures (a reduction) of $136,456.95 (N41,619,369.75) to arrive at $44,861,596.81 as against the announced figure of $44,998,053.76?
When contacted, the assistant general manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mallam Isa Suwaid, said the corruption case against Dredging International Services Nigeria outside the country cannot stop it from successfully bidding for a contract in Nigeria.He however advised Dredging Atlantic Limited to accept the result of the bidding process which he said was transparently done.“The last time when this aggrieved company that lost the bid published something like this, the management is of the opinion that they are doing this because they lost the contract. “Secondly, as far as NPA is concerned, the procedures of awarding contract to the company that won the contract was transparently done and even if the company was indicted in another country or even if the MD did say that, that doesn’t prevent them from bidding for another job if they have all the credentials that is why they bidded and it was transparently done and the contract awarded to them.”
Suwaid also denied conflict of interest saying because the MD was the board chairman of the Bonny Channel Company Limited which the MD of the Dredging International Service Nigeria is also a member doesn’t affect the outcome of the bidding process which he said was transparently done.
“There is nothing like conflict of interest. Everything was strictly done transparently and according to the best practice however, my message to them is that they should accept that they have lost the contract and the best company was given the opportunity to execute,”Suwaid told LEADERSHIP. NPA, Firm Battle Over $44bn Warri Dredging Contract.